With little more than a week until it takes office, the incoming Trump administration still has provided little detail on intended policy changes regarding the federal workforce. One priority, a hiring freeze, is expected to be imposed by an executive order promptly, possibly following President Reagan’s example of doing it on Inauguration Day. However, there has been no further definition of what jobs will fall under the announced exceptions for military, health or safety work; whether there will be a total ban elsewhere or whether backfilling of some positions will be allowed; whether the policy will apply to job changes by those already working for the government in addition to those seeking to come in from the outside and if so, whether routine actions such as career ladder advancements would be covered; whether agencies will be barred from hiring contractors to take over work; and whether the ban would apply, as did Reagan’s, even to those who have received job offers but who have not yet come on board (there have been reports of agencies rushing to get people in place just in case). About 20 federal unions and other organizations recently joined with more than 100 congressional Democrats in a letter asking Trump to reconsider imposing a freeze. They said the federal workforce already is strained and suffering from skills gaps, and that past freezes have proven to be disruptive and costly. The transition team made no immediate response, but dissuading him from imposing a freeze is a longshot, given its prominence in the campaign. Trump also is expected to overturn many Obama administration executive orders, such as the one requiring labor-management cooperative forums and giving unions a greater say in certain agency policies before decisions are made. Other Obama administration initiatives such as diversity and inclusiveness programs also are widely considered to be vulnerable. Still other Obama orders, such as one denying bonuses to political appointees and political senior executives, could fit the new administration’s philosophy, however.
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